Hello, my name is Holly Price and tonight I am going to be taking you through the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix sprint qualifying. Tonight’s 24 lap race has been surrounded by controversy as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both were summoned to the stewards today, so this is one highly anticipated race.
Here is an explanation of what has been going on today in the F1 paddock.
50 minutes before the start of the race
The post penalties grid formation has been released
The steward’s inquiries today have led to almost a day of confusion and suspense but finally, the FIA deemed Mercedes mistake worthy of disqualification from qualifying, which is what set tonight’s grid.
Hamilton will be trying to do everything in his power to move up the grid in this sprint race so that he can start in a higher place for the actual race, but with his five-place grid penalty for having a new ICE also coming in to play for tomorrows Grand Prix things do not look promising for the Brit.
The pit lane is open
As we see the cars slowly make their way around the track, we are reminded that it is not only the two championship protagonists involved in this race but also 18 other drivers. Four cars and drivers to keep your eye on are the Ferrari and McLaren pairings as they battle for third in the constructor’s championship. Even though their battle is not filled with as much drama and controversy as Hamilton and Verstappen’s is it deserves a watch because all four drivers are so closely matched.
Build-up on the grid
We are now listening to Nicholas Latifi and Fernando Alonso talk about their qualifying performances yesterday and what they might expect from this race. Latifi (who doesn’t sound the most optimistic) pulled out what many people would call the best lap of his F1 career so far yesterday after he managed to outqualify his teammate George Russell for the first time in a non-sprint race qualifying event. Even if he did not think it was the best lap of his F1 career so far it was definitely a lap to be proud of.
15 minutes to go
Soon we will be seeing the first race start on the Interlagos circuit since 2019 and it seems that every team is just hoping for no major disasters that could impact their race tomorrow.
This is the final sprint qualifying of 2021 so hopefully, it will be an action-packed event that will leave us looking forward to the race tomorrow.
Tyre update/formation lap
Mercedes have gone aggressive with Valtteri Bottas’ strategy as he is starting on the soft tyres. Verstappen and Red Bull haven’t gone as aggressive with car number 33 starting on the medium tyres.
BOTTAS IS AWAY AND INTO THE LEAD!
the soft tyres were great at getting off the line as Carlos Sainz has also made his way up and into second place after starting on the same compound. Mercedes will be delighted with that start while Red Bull certainly won’t be jumping for joy.Embed from Getty Images
We see that Verstappen is now back ahead of the Ferrari and chasing down the Mercedes of Bottas in front of him. I’m sure Sainz wasn’t too surprised to see that Speedy Red Bull flying past him.
Hamilton is up into 12th after he has been picking off each driver ahead of him one by one, he now has Alonso ahead of him. Flashbacks of the Hungarian GP must certainly be filling the heads of multiple Formula 1 fans at the moment as it was at that race where we watched Alonso pull out all the defensive moves he could think of to keep Hamilton behind him.
Back to the drama happening at the front, as Verstappen may have managed to get past the Ferrari of Sainz, but his teammate Sergio Perez on the other hand has not been so lucky although he is starting to put the Ferrari driver under some pressure.
A crucial move for Hamilton as he manages to pass the Alpine of Alonso for 11th. The other Alpine of Esteban Ocon is sitting nicely in eighth position which will do him and Alpine good in their battle against AlphaTauri for fifth in the constructor’s championship.
McLaren have had a mixed-race so far as we have seen Lando Norris making moves on the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, but his teammate Daniel Ricciardo has not been able to the make same moves as he has dropped down to 10th after starting in eighth and is now stuck in a DRS train.
This DRS train has stalled Hamilton’s progress as he is still stuck in 11th place with only half of the race to go.
Verstappen now has DRS on Bottas, are his tyres starting to drop off, or is this just the Mercedes race pace not matching up to Red Bull’s?
After being stuck behind Ricciardo for a little while Hamilton has stormed through the DRS train and is now right behind Pierre Gasly… and now ahead of Gasly.
Bottas and Verstappen are now 16 seconds ahead of P3 man Sainz, they really are in a race of their own.
Lap 20- five laps to goEmbed from Getty Images
Perez had everybody holding their breath as it looked like he was about to send a dive bomb up the inside of Sainz into turn one looking to reclaim the third place that he lost at the start, however, he was unsuccessful and Sainz stays in third.
I may not have been talking about Hamilton much these past few laps but that is because he is doing too much to keep up with! He is now in sixth place after making it look easy to get past Leclerc. This is one impressive drive from the seven-time world champion.
Everybody is managing to hold station as it looks like a few of the drivers like Verstappen, Perez, and Hamilton might be looking for a last-lap overtake.
Lap 24- Final lap
Hamilton has managed to pull off that last-lap overtake as he just about manages to slow the car down into turn one and get past Norris.
No matter how good everybody else has driven though it is BOTTAS WHO GETS TO THE CHEQUERED FLAG FIRST AND WILL START TOMORROW’S GRAND PRIX ON POLE POSITION.
Well, what an eventful race and one that I’m sure leaves the whole of Mercedes with a smile on their face after the disappointment they were left feeling earlier today. All is not over though as we still have the full 71 laps to watch tomorrow which I’m sure will be just as thrilling as these 24 laps were.
So, it is a Mercedes on pole, a Red Bull in P2, and Ferrari in P3. Hamilton will be starting in 10th after his five-place grid penalty is applied and will be looking to make moves up the grid just like he did today. Thank you for joining me this evening for this exhilarating sprint qualifying and I hope you enjoyed it.
For the liveblog of qualifying click here.
For more Formula One content click here.
For more sports content click here.